State minister for jute Mirza Azam on Monday blamed finance minister AMA Muhith for the finance ministry’s reluctance to consider jute as an agro-based product although prime minister Sheikh Hasina instructed in this regard two years ago.
Despite having the instruction from the prime minister the jute is yet to be considered as an agro-based product in last two years due to the unwillingness of the finance ministry, the state minister said at a seminar on jute organised by the Economic Reporters Forum at the CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka.
‘I think the finance minister is averse to jute and he doesn’t like jute products and so his officers are dilly-dallying to include jute on the list of agro-based products,’ Azam said.
He alleged that the file of the proposal for considering jute as an agro-based product had been moving from one table to another table in the finance ministry in last two years as ‘ghosts’ of the World Bank were sitting there.
In 2016, Hasina declared that jute and jute goods would be considered as agro-based products so that the foreign exchange-earning sector could get all the benefits country’s other agro-based items get.
Azam said that jute was not the first product which had been sent to the finance ministry for considering as an agro-based product.
There are 40 agro-based products for which exporters are getting 20 per cent cash incentive, he said.
There is a designated officer in the jute ministry who has been going from one table to another table in the finance and agriculture ministries and Bangladesh Bank.
‘Tomorrow (Tuesday) is Jute Day and the correspondence between the two ministries for last two years regarding the issue would be made known to the prime minister on the day,’ the junior minister said.
ERF president Saif Islam Dilal chaired the seminar while jute ministry secretary Foyzur Rahman, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation chairman Mahmudul Hassan, Channel I head of news Shaikh Siraj and ERF secretary Ziaur Rahman also spoke at the event.
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